Following are the results of my "super-official, highly-scientific, nobody-can-doubt-it" poll that I had posted this past week ...
How many days per week do you run?
7 days ... 0 (0%)
6 days ... 3 (14%)
5 days ... 11 (52%)
4 days ... 5 (23%)
3 days ... 2 (9%)
(Thank you to the 21 people who voted. Of course there are several variables that would qualify a question like this. For example if the respondent is currently injured? Are they training for a marathon or 5K? Are they tapering? Are they recovering for a marathon? Are there mountain lions where they live? Many things Earl!)
Overwhelmingly, the most common answer was most people are running 5 days per week. I found that a little surprising. I really thought it would be 4. A lot of runners use popular online running programs like Hal Higdon, Running The Planet, and Runner's World Smart Coach. One of the most common "running days per week" assigned by these programs is 4. I used the 4 days per week program for my first few marathons. I felt like it gave me more than adequate rest and I didin't feel overworked.
"Run Less Run Faster", by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss, that suggests 3 runs per week ... 1 speed run, 1 tempo run, and 1 long run. Run Like A Mother wrote a great review of the book and its training plan last year.
Based on her review, I would say she gave it two huge thumbs up. The plan is probably great for some people. However, I used the training plan for Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN last June. I can tell you that I never felt LESS prepared for a marathon after using this plan. I just never felt like I was racking up adequate mileage to prepare for the race. In fact, it was this book and plan that was actually responsible for transforming me from a 3 or 4 day - low miles trainer, to a 6 day - high miles plan.
While training for the Top of Utah Marathon, I did a lot of research on elite runners. I'm of course NOT an elite level runner, but I wanted to start training like one. If found that many elite level runners, during heavy training periods, often log over 100 miles, with up to 14 runs during a 7 day training week. So I started adding miles to my base and added two more days to my regimen. For me it was perfect. When I was running 4 days per week, I always felt like I was leaving a littke in the tank. I was always rested which was great, but I felt a little under-trained for some marathons. To this point, my body has handled the extra miles just fine, and I've never felt stronger or more prepared when race time rolls around.
Like everything else, you just have to find what works for you. The important thing is to keep running fun ... even if that's only a couple of days per week. Regardless of how many days you train, be passionate, be safe, and ...
Be Great Today!